This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Audi A8 Saloon review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

When the A8 debuted it ushered in a new interior design direction for the brand with redesigned switches, instruments and controls – now a look that is familiar across the whole range.

The white on black instruments are elegant and easily read, while the gear lever, shaped like the throttle in a yacht, and analogue clock in the centre of the dashboard help it stand out from those lesser models. Gliding out of the dashboard at the touch of a button the multimedia screen is a neat solution and leaves the dashboard looking sleek and uncluttered when not in use.

Despite all the gadgets on board the MMI system makes it easy to navigate around and make use of them, and keeps the button count across the rest of the cabin down to a minimum.

Leather seats are standard across the range though the facelifted 2013 models are available with Unicum leather which looks particularly natural and is softer than normal hide. The standard of the fit and finish employed in the A8 is as expected for Audi’s flagship – that is to say virtually untouchable by all of its rivals.

Of course everything is electrically adjustable, including the steering column and the front seats, so finding the perfect driving position is the work of moments, and using the memory function from there on in as simple as pressing one single button upon entering the car.

At more than five metres long, Audi A8 comfort is well catered for and the firm’s flagship has plenty of passenger space. The back seats are the best place to enjoy the luxury with masses of legroom and wonderfully supportive yet forgiving leather seats.

Electrical adjustment for these is available as an option and includes heating, ventilation and a massage function. The front pair can also be specified with an impressive five-program massage function, which unlike many other systems, is genuinely relaxing. All cars come with climate control while separate controls for the rear are an option.

Thanks to superb sound insulation and double-glazed glass, the A8 is amazingly serene and quiet at motorway speeds and will cruise along in near silence – regardless of which engine you have chosen. The long-wheelbase version, which adds 130mm between the wheels, is especially good to be chauffeured in thanks to the massively increased rear legroom.

In the W12 comfort is taken to a higher level with the option of the rear 'Executive' seat which allows the front passenger seat to slide all the way forward into the dashboard for extra legroom, while providing a comfortable footrest too. Rear headrest monitors mean occupants of the flagship can stay connected on the move, as well as in control of the car’s media systems.

All models come with air suspension as standard and on the whole it soaks up the lumps and bumps passing under the wheels with ease, though you can hear the odd thump as the suspension compresses over larger imperfections. There’s little other noise to be noticed though, with excellently supressed wind and road noise.

Even if it does the stereo system is fantastic, and easily capable of drowning out any unwanted background racket.